Six more detained over China blast that killed 78

The explosion was one of the worst industrial accidents in China recently. (AFP/File)
Updated 14 April 2019

Six more detained over China blast that killed 78

  • China shut down the plant after the explosion
  • The official statement said they will also take measures against the companies running the plant

BEIJING: Police have detained six more suspects linked to a chemical plant blast in eastern China last month which killed 78 and left hundreds injured, local authorities said.
The explosion in Jiangsu province’s Yancheng city last month was one of the worst industrial accidents in the country in recent years and led to the closure of the plant.
Six employees from the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical company, whose plant was involved in the blast, have “major responsibilities” in relation to the incident, the Yancheng government said Saturday in a brief statement on its official Twitter-like Weibo account.
It said that “criminal coercive measures” have been taken against them — a vague term which indicates detention, arrest or being put under temporary house arrest until police complete investigations, according to an explanation on the Chinese parliament’s website.
Three others had also earlier been detained in connection with the blast.
The statement added that measures will also be taken against Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical, as well as its controlling shareholder, the Jiangsu Nijiaxiang Group.
The March 21 explosion razed an industrial park and blew out the windows of surrounding homes.
The company, with 195 employees, was established in 2007 and mainly produces raw chemical materials including anisole, a highly flammable compound.
It has a history of violating environmental regulations, according to online records from Yancheng city’s environment and ecology bureau.
In 2015 and 2017, the firm was fined for breaking rules on solid and water waste management.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.
In November, a gas leak at a plant in the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou — which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics — killed 24 people and injured 21 others.
In 2015, China saw one of its worst industrial accidents when giant chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin killed at least 165 people.


South Sudan opposition leader returns to meet with president

Updated 19 October 2019

South Sudan opposition leader returns to meet with president

  • Riek Machar last met face-to-face with President Salva Kiir in September, when they discussed outstanding issues in a fragile peace deal
  • The civil war killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions

JUBA, South Sudan: South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar returned to the country Saturday to meet with President Salva Kiir less than a month before their deadline to form a unity government after a five-year civil war.
Machar last met face-to-face with Kiir in September, when they discussed outstanding issues in a fragile peace deal. His two-day visit includes a meeting with the US ambassador to the United Nations, who arrives Sunday with a UN Security Council delegation.
The delegation is expected to encourage progress in the peace deal signed a year ago but fraught with delays.
Both Kiir and Machar will meet with the delegation Sunday, government spokesman Michael Makuei said.
The opposition has said Machar won’t return to South Sudan for good to form the government by the Nov. 12 deadline unless security arrangements are in place.
The US has said it will reevaluate its relationship with South Sudan if that deadline is missed.
The civil war killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions.
Before Machar’s return a unified army of 41,500 opposition and government soldiers needs to be ready along with a 3,000-person VIP protection force.
But so far there are only 1,000 unified soldiers and security arrangements won’t meet the deadline, deputy opposition spokesman Manawa Peter Gatkuoth said.
The previous Machar-Kiir meeting focused on speeding up the screening and reunification of forces, but parties left the talks with differing views.
Deputy chairman for the opposition Henry Odwar called the meeting “lukewarm,” while Makuei called it “highly successful” and said everything was on track for next month’s deadline.